February 27, 2011

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The Great Gizmo Dilemma:
Jeffrey A. Tucker

February 27, 2011
The NYT runs a fascinating article by a parent of a 6-year old who can’t stop using the iPad. Addiction, they call it. The kid loves the machine. He can hardly get dressed in the morning because he can’t tear himself away. He is all about it, before and after dinner and sometimes he drags it out during dinner. He is happy using it and unhappy otherwise. It is his constant companion. Is this a terrible problem? Jeffrey Tucker challenges that assumption.

My Reply to Krugman on Austrian Business-Cycle Theory:
Robert P. Murphy

February 27, 2011
Paul Krugman linked to one of Dr. Robert Murphy's Mises Daily articles explaining the importance of capital theory in any discussion of the business cycle. Although Krugman graciously described Dr. Murphy's fable about sushi-eating islanders as "the best exposition I've seen yet of the Austrian view that's sweeping the GOP," naturally he derided the approach as a "great leap backward" and a repudiation of 75 years of economic progress since the work of John Maynard Keynes. To bolster his rejection, Krugman listed several problems he saw with the Austrian understanding.
In the present article Dr. Murphy summarizes the Austrian (in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises) positions on capital theory, interest, and the business cycle. With that as a backdrop, Dr. Murphy then answers Krugman's specific objections.

Lost in a Maze of Money Aggregates?:
Robert P. Murphy

February 27, 2011
One of the most important concepts in economic theory is the quantity of money. However, when going from theory to practical application, things get messy. In the real world, it's not obvious how to count up the amount of "money" in the economy at any given time. Because of this ambiguity, economists have developed several different "monetary aggregates," i.e., different definitions that include and exclude various components that are more or less related to our intuitive notion of what "money" is. In the present article Dr. Robert Muphy outlines the major aggregates and then relate them to the "Austrian money supply" definition devised by Murray Rothbard and Joe Salerno.

Can Austrian Theory Explain Construction Employment?:
Robert P. Murphy

February 27, 2011
As a service to readers, Dr. Robert Murphy immerses himself in the sometimes-stultifying skirmishes of the economics blogosphere. Recently, those arguing that the solution to our current economic woes involves a pumping up of "aggregate demand" seem to have scored a major victory over the economists who believe the housing boom led to real resource misallocation. Although the Austrians are not mentioned by name in this dispute, the validity of the Mises-Hayek theory of the business cycle is clearly in question. As has happened twice before in such controversies, the Keynesians need to look more closely at the data. Because Dr. Murphy thinks the Austrian story is correct, he is not afraid to subject it to empirical verification. As Dr. Murphy shows, the Austrian explanation comes through with flying colors.

Central Economic Planning at Its Worst:
Ron Paul

February 27, 2011
Schoolchildren today are taught the myth that Herbert Hoover was a small-government President who did nothing to stop the Depression, while the truth is exactly the opposite. Fed Chairman Bernanke failed to understand the true cause of the Great Depression, so his policy prescriptions to combat the current crisis are understandably flawed.  Rep. Ron Paul writes that unless we confront and correct false economic rhetoric, truly understand the causes of the economic crisis, and do away with our loose monetary policy, we will find ourselves in ever more vicious business cycles. 

Political Gumption and Gasoline Prices:
Marita Noon

February 27, 2011
Chaos in the Middle East and the subsequent spike in prices at the pump spotlight the failure of America’s
long-term energy policy. Reminiscent of the seventies, we are, once again, held captive by others' instability.
Marita Noon connects the power of political will—or "gumption"—to the rising gas prices.

The Unthinking Right:
Llewelyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

February 27, 2011
With each published interview, Ron Paul only seems to become more articulate, more persuasive and compelling, more to the pedagogical point in explaining the meaning and priority of liberty as the central political principle. Those of us who understand can only cheer. Those who hold contradictory opinions — favoring liberty in some areas and central-government expansion in others — find his views, in the words of National Review, "quixotic — unquestionably a little weird." Let's talk about weird. Lew Rockwell thinks that what's weird is the world of National Review, where it troubles no one to call for huge spending cuts and slashing government at the domestic level while defending the worst form of global imperialism abroad, complete with reflexive defenses of every violation of human rights and liberty.

Environmentalist Fraud and Manslaughter:
Paul Driessen

February 27, 2011
Environmentalist disinformation, propaganda, and policy demands continue to move at almost breakneck speed on the malaria and pesticide front – with millions of lives at stake. One of the latest, and most disturbing, developments involves a multi-year “study” conducted by the Global Environment Facility. The most honest and charitable description Paul Driessen can offer is that it is completely fraudulent. And yet it is being used to justify a global ban on DDT for disease-control purposes, a dramatic reduction in the use of other pesticides to reduce malaria and other insect-borne diseases, and reliance on completely inadequate “environment-friendly” interventions approved by radical eco-activist groups. What we are really talking about here is deliberate manslaughter, in the name of protecting human health and the environment from a host of speculative, imaginary, and disproven threats.

Using Fear to Ban BPA - The BPA File, Part Two:
Alan Caruba

February 27, 2011
Writing for Health News in early February, Michael D. Shaw noted that bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used to make polycarbonate plastics and an ingredient in the epoxy resin used as a protective coating in metal cans, “is one of the most heavily studied chemicals of all time. Indeed, there are more than 6,000 scientific papers devoted to this compound.”  Despite decades of studies that show no harm, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration still wants to take what it calls “reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply.” Yet it is BPA’s use in lining cans and plastic containers that reduces human exposure to botulism and other deadly food-borne illnesses. Alan Caruba continues his series on the lies and fear-mongering that has put the use of this safe, effective, life-preserving chemical under threat.

Praise for Libya's Revolution:
G. Stolyarov II

February 27, 2011
The ongoing protests against the leader of Libya - Moammar (or Muammar) Gaddafi (or Kadafi or Qaddafi) demonstrate just how effectively people who are fed up with their regime can overthrow their oppressors from within - without external intervention. Mr. G. Stolyarov II expresses his support of the protesters' uprising against the tyrant Gaddafi but urges Western powers to let the Libyan people settle this matter themselves, lest Western (and especially US) interference turn back the tides of liberation and bring about unintended consequences. The chain reaction of Middle East protests also demonstrates that Islamists have nothing to do with these uprisings. The uprisings are fundamentally secular and focused on achieving universal human values.

* "Muammar al-Gaddafi" - Wikipedia
* "2011 Libyan uprising" - Wikipedia
* "Anti-Gaddafi protesters control Misrata: witness" - February 24, 2011 - Reuters
* "Popular Protests Continue Against Many Arab Governments" - February 25, 2011 - Voice of America
* "Official: U.S. military options for Libya being planned" - February 24, 2011 - CNN
* "Gaddafi addresses crowd in Tripoli" - Al Jazeera - February 25, 2011
(This article describes some of Gaddafi's ridiculous accusations that Al Qaeda terrorists are behind the protests.)

 "The most serious dangers for American freedom and the American way of life do not come from without." 
~ Ludwig von Mises